PDC 2010 Keynote: Bring the goodies

Last night I was one of the 30,000 persons attending a local Microsoft event to join in on the PDC 2010 Keynote live stream, excited to see what goodies Microsoft would announce. Man, did we get some! One thing is clear: Microsoft goes for IE9, WP7 and lots of cloud with Azure.

For those who missed the opening keynote, you should go have a look at the video to know what Microsoft is focusing on right now. Here’s a small write-up to give you an idea:

Internet Explorer 9

Steve Ballmer kicked of with Internet Explorer 9, how well it supports HTML5 and the full hardware acceleration you get with IE9. You’re able to play video’s and combine with a canvas, do some animations and still get a very high FPS rate and smooth display. Something that becomes clear when we compare to the latest Chrome build (which can’t rely on the hardware acceleration as IE9 does). Next to that you also get CSS3 2D transforms, JavaScript support for pinning websites to the Windows 7 taskbar and even custom IE layout for your site. Plenty of demos on http://ietestdrive.com.

Windows Phone 7

With all the hype around Windows Phone 7 lately, this just had to be mentioned in the keynote. We’ve seen already quite a few nice demonstrations on the web, but Microsoft still manages to surprise us here. Scott Guthrie showed us a new OData library, connecting you to eBay, and new profiler tools for WP7 enabling you to drill down to the specific UI element or method that’s crippling your performance. And don’t forget that Amazon is bringing Kindle to the Windows Phone 7! We’ve seen only a beta version, the release is for the ‘coming months’, but the integration with WP7 looks great.

And just to make sure that you know Microsoft is pushing Windows Phone 7 to be a top competitor: every PDC attendee is getting a WP7 device AND a registration on Windows Phone Marketplace. No excuses anymore! To bad we don’t get one either on the local events ;).

Windows Azure

Then Bob Muglia came on stage for the second and largest part of the keynote on Windows Azure. One thing should be clear once you’ve seen it: Microsoft is making a commitment to Platform as a Service (PaaS) with Azure. And the market is following: Pixar is running RenderMan on Azure to leverage the scalability and elasticity (time vs. costs) for creating their animations. Like Chris Ford of Pixar mentioned: medium sized studios can’t afford a huge “render farm” to stand idle half of the time, and this is the best way to pay for your usage only.

Demos are nice, but new features are better! And the list of new features really shows how important cloud computing is for Microsoft:

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role enables you to run your own existing Windows Server 2008 R2 machines, Server 2008 and 2003 will join in later. You can either upload your image or build the VM role images in the cloud. Public beta by end of 2010.
  • Server Application Virtualization enables you to deploy virtualized applications on the Windows Azure worker role, giving you an easy migration to Windows Azure without the need to rewrite everything. CTP before end of 2010, final release second half of 2011.
  • SQL Azure Reporting allows you to create and embed reports into your Windows Azure applications, also with Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) as you do for SQL Server Reporting. CTP before end of 2010, final release first half of 2011.
  • Improvements on the Windows Azure AppFabric, with maybe most importantly AppFabric Caching to improve the performance of your applications. CTP available, final release first half of 2011.
  • Windows Azure Marketplace giving a place to buy and sell building block components, services, applications, … for Windows Azure. Part of this Windows Azure Marketplace is DataMarket (formerly known as Dallas), offering third-party data and web services. Currently there are already over 40 data providers and over 100 more in the pipeline. Public beta by end of 2010.
  • And plenty more like Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure (and how fast they did bring it to the cloud), Remote Desktop (RDP) to all your Windows Azure instances, extra small Windows Azure instance at $0.05/hour, Virtual Networking between on-premise and Windows Azure machines, elevated privileges, full IIS support, multiple admins, new Azure Portal admin interface,…

If you’re not with your head in the clouds yet, then this will certainly bring you there. I’m pretty sure there will be quite a few interesting sessions, about Azure and other topics, during this PDC event to follow live or to check out later. They already kept me from finishing this post last night.

After the life stream with had some extra Windows Phone 7 demos with Katrien De Graeve and Maarten Balliauw in Belgium. It was a great evening and my high expectations were certainly filled in and then some.


All latest news: http://www.microsoft.com/news

Opening keynote
Other live streams

IE blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/
IE9 demos and samples: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/

Windows Phone blog: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/
Developer portal: http://developer.windowsphone.com/

Windows Azure announcements: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/
Windows Azure blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/

Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0; code samples licensed under MIT.
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